Re: What's the Evidence That the Two Marthas Were One?
I have just been made aware of this posting and would like to add something to explain my own position regarding Nicholas Ide and his relationship to the Bliss family. The discovery that the child born to Thomas and Dorothy Bliss at Daventry in 1622 was Martha not Nathaniel, is significant but another discovery also has bearing on the arguments.
The register of Holy Cross church Daventry records the burial of Dorothy, wife of Thomas Blisse, 10 May 1631. In that year Thomas was churchwarden at Holy Cross, therefore a man of some repute in the town. In Feb 1633 Thomas Blisse married Abigail Southam. Two children were born to them but both died in 1837, the year before Thomas Blisse and children by Dorothy are believed to have emigrated. I believe no documentary evidence of Abigail Bliss has been found in America. But in England Abigail Bliss was buried at Daventry 6th Oct 1681.
In my opinion, this presents quite a problem for the traditional explanation that Thomas Bliss married the widow Ide in New England and her son Nicholas was accepted by him as a foster son who inherited a child's portion in Thomas's will of 1647.
True no wife was metioned in the will, so it is doubtful that Abigail was present in New England at that time (if, in fact, she ever went to America withher husband). However she was alive and continued to live for many years after Thomas's death. Her existence weakens the long-accepted suppostion (for that is all it is) that Thomas Bliss took up with the widow Ide and adopted her son as his own.
I have little idea of the legal and social mores pertaining at that time in New England, except that it was ruled by a God-fearing, Puritan elite. Although Abigail was far away, I feel it is reasonable to accept that (with the possible exception of mariners) in the small communities of New England, everyone knew everybody else's business and family relationships. I think it unlikely a man of his standing could hope to marry another woman whilst his own wife was still alive, without exciting the interest of the governing council!
Thomas Bliss had a daughter named Martha and he had a wife in England living at the time of his death. Althought I can see problems with the way his will makes no reference to Martha by name, I see no strong reason to believe that 'son in law Nicholas Ide refers to his step son rather than the husband of his daughter. Although the supposed marriage of nicholas and a Martha Bliss at Springfield has been discredited, I understand Nicholas was married to a woman named Martha who was buried at Rehoboth in 1676. It seems perverse to reject the claim that Martha the wife of Nicholas Ide the son inlaw of Thomas Bliss was not the daughter of Thomas Bliss born in England in 1622.